By Sheri L. Stuart, Staff Writer
It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention. And if it’s true, 24-year-old La’Asia Johnson is the epitome of the often quoted, age-old proverb. The Flint native is the founder of Elle Jae Essentials, a company she established after being diagnosed in 2008 with an immune deficiency disease.
“I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in high school. I ended up developing a severe scalp infection causing tremendous hair loss and rashes all over my hands, feet and face. I began to research the ingredients in my favorite products and learned how harmful they really were,” said Johnson. “Through experimenting, I was able to develop products that made my skin feel better. If I felt better, I knew others could feel better as well.”
Johnson describes herself as an “accidental entrepreneur” who was simply trying to find relief for her own condition, which she said was aggravated by using store-bought products.
“It was super embarrassing. I was going bald and breaking out from everything,” she said.
Johnson is a social worker by day but transforms into a ‘mad scientist’ at night often working into the wee hours of the morning on new products for a growing list of customers craving all-natural hair and body products.
After sharing her experience with friends and family, Johnson realized there was a demand for a locally produced hair and body products and launched her business in 2017. Today, Elle Jae Essentials offers a variety of body butters, body washes and body oils.
“I’m excited to be able to share my products with people who want only the best for their skin and hair. I’ve learned a lot about myself since starting the business. My self-confidence has improved. I have a great mentor, Ebonie Gipson, who has taught me a lot. I want to create a self-care regimen for people. I also want to collaborate with other people in Flint,” Johnson said.
Elle Jae Essentials can be ordered online through Etsy.com. Follow on Facebook at facebook.com/ellejaeessentials/.
HERStory is a series of stories featuring local area business women. This month, in recognition of National Women’s History Month, the Courier will be featuring local area women who are making an impact in the Greater Flint community. Do you or someone you know have a story to share? Email Sheri at firstname.lastname@example.org.